The 12th Annual Wrapped in Red Gala hits a little closer to home this year
By Rachel Porter
Photos provided by American Red Cross of Kentucky
Each year guests gather for the Wrapped in Red Gala in Louisville to support the American Red Cross of Kentucky. However, this year’s event on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Omni Louisville Hotel will hit closer to home.
According to Governor Beshear, on Dec. 10, 2021, a deadly tornado struck Western Kentucky, killing at least 77 people and leaving hundreds homeless. The Red Cross Relief Team has been there ever since, working to help the communities in need. We spoke with the Senior Director of Communications Amber Youngblood of Red Cross Kentucky to understand more about the positive impacts that support and donations can have on affected communities across the state.
“There was not a street in downtown Bowling Green that was not impacted in some way. Roads were impassable,” shared Amber. “One street, you’ll see a perfect home, but then right across the street is a home completely destroyed.” At the peak of relief, Amber and a team of over 600 Red Cross relief workers quickly assisted in person and virtually to the 25 counties impacted; Bowling Green and Mayfield being the two towns hit the hardest. The majority are volunteers within the state of Kentucky but can also come from across the country. “We rely on much of our work with volunteer support and could not do a majority of it without them. They make up 90% of the Red Cross,” shared Amber. Volunteers receive free training based on their interests and can receive it during any time of the year. These roles can range from shelter care to emotional and spiritual support. For disasters like the tornado in Western Kentucky, Red Cross was able to seek out people who have helped with similar experiences in the past to guarantee the best help possible.
As a result of the hardworking Red Cross Relief Team and donations, they have served over 60,000 meals and snacks and 40,000 relief items to those affected by the tornado. “We also give away cleanup kits with items like gloves and bleach to help salvage the remains of their homes and are providing mittens, hand warmers, hats, etc.,” said Amber. The Red Cross also has a task team to assist with medical needs like prescription eyewear and medicine.
The Red Cross works with agencies and community partners to meet long-term needs to become one big puzzle. They have established partnerships with mobile feeding kitchens and places like churches to ensure people and family’s needs are being met on a 24/7 basis and ensure that they have a recovery plan post relief or post shelter. Amber said, “Red Cross is a part of the solution, but not the full solution. We help with immediate needs like food and clothing and work with agencies so they can help with the longer-term needs.”
The support and accessibility through the Red Cross would not be possible without financial support. “It’s the donations every day that help us quickly mobilize,” said Amber. “Events like Wrapped in Red help us not in large scale disasters, but also those everyday disasters like the 2,000 families a year affected by fires.” The donations allow the Red Cross to have resources readily available so that families have one less thing to worry about.
The 12th Annual Wrapped in Red Gala reflects the importance of fundraising, with all proceeds, helping millions across the country and the state that we call home. Attendees can expect to eat a specially prepared three-course dinner by the Omni Louisville Hotel. The gala will also include a premier auction that features adventurous trips and unique items. For those wanting to dance and sing, guests will be able to see and listen to the Endless Summer Band and an exceptional guest performance by Kentucky’s country music artist, J.D. Shelburne. Enjoy an evening of fun and don your formal red attire to support the Red Cross.
The Wrapped in Red Gala attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a 72-hour negative test to enter the event. Masks are optional but will be available and are required to be worn by the staff and volunteers.
Wrapped in Red Gala
6 p.m. Feb. 5
Omni Louisville Hotel